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Mobilizing Worldviews: The Visual Repertoires of the Far Right

Extremism
Islam
Populism
Social Movements
Social Media
Mobilisation
Political Activism
Brexit
P236
Maik Fielitz
Universität Hamburg
Lisa Bogerts
Institute for Social Movement Studies (ipb), Berlin

Abstract

The visual appearance of far-right movements and parties has fundamentally changed since the start of the new millennium. Historically, rendering politics aesthetic has always been a core feature of fascism. Following this trend, the far-right’s use of images has transformed over time and has recently become professionalized, in order to appeal to diverse audiences. Images are a crucial resource for communicating far-right ideology and expressing their worldviews. As digitalization has increased, visuals have become even more central to the struggle over ideas. Digital images spread rapidly, and imaginaries transgress from digital spaces to street protests and far-right terrorist attacks. Memes in particular have become a prototypical expression that combine far-right agendas with popular culture and invite participation in ‘culture wars’ to be fought both online and offline – boosting the success of far-right political parties and movements. This panel looks at the visual repertoires of far-right actors, making methodological and theoretical approaches to visual data useful for understanding far-right politics. In line with the increasing recognition of visual data in political science, the panel aims to discuss how visual culture approaches could enrich the field of (far-right) extremism research. We will not only reflect on the visual content of images and imaginaries, but also on their production, circulation and reception as an inherent part of far-right politics. At the same time, we ask to what extent far-right networks – often only loosely organized – employ everyday and popular images strategically, given the rationalist implication of “repertoires” in social movement and extremism studies. Moreover, we critically engage with the question how the far right’s visual representation by others (media, politics, critical counter-movements, etc.) affect their prospects in a mediatized society. The contributions of this panel discuss empirically, theoretically and methodically the role of visual repertoires in communicating far-right ideology, radicalizing target groups and individuals, and normalizing far-right agendas in broader society. Combining innovative methodological approaches with sophisticated case studies, the papers discuss 1) artistic visual strategies for normalizing right-wing values in the Brexit campaigns, 2) visual resistance against gender equality by the Croatian religious far-right movement “March for Life”, 3) European orientalist imagination in anti-Muslim mobilization of the US-American and German Far Right, and 4) digital audio-visual material of events commemorating victims of Islamist terror for the articulation of collective German “victimhood”.

Title Details
Normalizing Isolation – Visual Strategies in the Brexit Debate View Paper Details
Shiny Happy People Laughing: The Far-Right’s Mobilization of Emotions Through Visual Repertoires of the March for Life View Paper Details
Ultraist Visualities, Citational Politics, and the Place of Islam View Paper Details
Understanding the Role of Visuals in Right-Wing Radicalisation Processes View Paper Details
Victimhood Visualized: The German New Right, Social-Mediatized Commemoration and the Orchestration of Far-Right Affects View Paper Details